Can Civil Action Be Commenced If Commission Fails to Act Within Stipulated Time Frame In Lost Wages Recovery Cases ?

In Hullinger v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 548 So. 2d 231 (Fla. 1989), a claimant brought an age discrimination action against his former employer by filing a complaint with the Commission pursuant to section 760.10, Florida Statutes (1983). At that time, section 760.10(12) authorized a civil action if the Commission failed to act on a claim within 180 days of filing. After waiting three years from the date of filing, Hullinger initiated a suit against Ryder Truck Rental alleging wrongful discharge and requesting compensation for lost wages. The Commission still had not responded to his complaint by the time Hullinger filed his action. The trial court dismissed Hullinger's claim as time-barred by the two-year statute of limitations contained in section 95.11(4)(c), Florida Statutes (1983), which governs actions to recover lost wages. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed. See Hullinger v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc. 516 So. 2d 1148 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987). This Court agreed with Hullinger's argument that his claim was premised on the violation of a statute. Accordingly, the court applied the four-year statute of limitations contained in section 95.11(3)(f). At the time Hullinger brought his civil action, there was no provision in Chapter 760 requiring the commencement of a civil action within one year of the date of the reasonable cause determination.